NSA Documents Show that the Agency can Grab All Skype Traffic

Skype used to have a reputation as a safe and secure voice communications tool. Sadly, that is no longer true.

A National Security Agency document published this week by the German news magazine Der Spiegel from the trove provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden shows that the agency has full access to voice, video, text messaging, and file sharing from targeted individuals over Microsoft’s Skype service. The access, mandated by a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant, was part of the NSA’s PRISM program and allowed “sustained Skype collection” in real time from specific users identified by their Skype user names.

You can read more in the Der Spiegel article (in english) at http://goo.gl/6fcUhn.

While the NSA feels that the agency has a right to monitor all communications, other governments disagree. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her cabinet now communicate using phones incorporating strong encryption. The government has also encouraged members of the German public to take steps to protect their own communications. Michael Hange, the president of the Federal Office for Information Security, has stated: “We suggest cryptography — that is, consistent encryption.”

The moral of this story: If you wish to protect your privacy, avoid Skype.

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